Speaker’s Life: How to make the most out of a highly diverse workshop audience

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I did have a great time speaking facilitating a four-hour workshop at the Content Tech Summit in San Diego in 2019.

The session was about how to pick the latest technology.

Good luck keeping up! There are over 7,000 mar-tech (marketing technology) companies currently listed.

That’s certainly a tough market to stand out in! How many social media scheduling, monitoring or content creation tools do I really need?

These companies better have their value proposition down to a tee and know how they can reach the people who have the problem they are trying to solve!


On the flip side, we have the marketing professionals who are shopping for tools that – fingers crossed – will help them solve their workflow problems. Picking the right tools can be a challenge, but there’s a process, which I’ve outlined in my PowerPoint deck below.


What was interesting and challenging at times about my group was the diversity in workflows and barriers.

Attendees were from large, global organizations to 1-person teams. A big difference in problems and also tools that are actually needed. There were attendees from the US, Germany and Belgium.

So certainly I ran through my outline (aka the PowerPoint) but it was mostly meant as a conversation starter and to keep us on track.

I also asked them to participate and at some point we just acknowledged the differences in organizations and I offered that it might just be best if people share their questions as we are moving through the topics and we could go down one path that was being discussed.

Then, others could apply those discussions to their own situations or ask questions to get their questions answered.

Some attendees were from highly regulated industries. Others weren’t. There are very different problems and different workflows often in those areas.


At the end of the day, though, the base problems remain the same for any organization:

  • What are our best stories?
  • How do we get them produced?
  • How do we get them syndicated?
  • How do we measure results?
  • What tools do we use?
  • How do we make sure it’s tight to the business goals?

There’s still plenty of teams that use Excel, Word and email! There’s all kinds of companies that try to solve the workflow problem, including one I used to work for as VP of Content Marketing.

That’s another thing I noticed at the conference: Whenever somebody mentioned a specific product or company, people wrote those names down quickly.

Of course, some of the companies mentioned are what I would call household names in content marketing.

  • Hootsuite
  • Marketo for email marketing
  • Google
  • Basecamp
  • Etc. etc.

Of course the tool won’t help you be successful if you don’t have good content!

So summarizing the key take-aways:

  • Find a way to create good content. Content that makes a difference. Content that solves a problem.
  • Then determine where the barriers in your process are and find a tool that can help you fix it.

Sounds simple enough. But with a huge landscape of tools and busy lives of tired marketers it can be challenge.